Have you ever noticed something? As our kids grow, so do the dollar amounts on the stuff they want. They start with small things like board books and before you know it? They’re asking for iPods, tablets and more. Needless to say, a parent could easily go broke if they bought everything their kids want. Aside from that? We would all end up with really spoiled kids if we did that too. So what is a parent to do?
We teach them the importance of saving.
Teaching kids the importance of savings is hard to do. Honestly, its really hard. Kids generally tend to walk around in their own world of “now and instant gratification” and as most of us know, waiting patiently to save up for something they want isn’t anywhere near instant. Teaching them to save though teaches them that they should work for the things they want and that things in the “real world” (as in the adult world) aren’t usually instant.
To start, obviously your kids will need their own money. To help teach them, don’t just give it to them. Giving an allowance is fine, but giving them an allowance without making them do any chores at all for it? Well that’s a really good way to teach them that things will just come to them. Instead, give them at least one chore that they are responsible for each day to earn their allowance. This way, they’re working for the money they get and you get the added bonus of a little bit of help around the house.
One way that you can help teach them is by using books, especially if you’ve got a kid who loves to read like my Emma does. Depending on their ages, you could use “Money for a Puppy” (ages 3-6), Berenstain Bears “Trouble with Money” or “Dollars and Sense“. For beginner readers try Little Critters “Just Saving my Money,” “Isabel’s Car Wash” or “Give Save and Spend with The Three Little Pigs.” For older readers, check out “The Financial Angel,” “Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock” or “Money Sense for Kids.”
It also helps to have a piggy bank for them that lays out what they should be saving. I love the give, save, spend banks that you can pick up. Having the visual aide helps your kids to know that they should split their earnings between saving for what they want, giving to the less fortunate and spending it on the things they need to have to cool the instant gratification need that most kids have. As they are depositing their money into their piggy bank, be sure that you explain to them that they should save 20%, give 20% and have the rest available to spend if they need or want. Teaching them to save 20% of their income when they are young will help set them up for doing the same thing when they are adults.
The biggest thing you can do when teaching your kids about savings is to live by example. Kids really do learn what they live and the absolute best way you can teach them to be money smart and to save is by doing it yourself. If your budget is out of control, if your savings account is empty, if your investments are non-existent, your kids will learn that its okay for those things to happen. Instead, get your spending under control and you portfolio growing and your kids will be more likely to do the same thing with their own finances.
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